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In 1.4.3 I started a new playthrough fighting for the southern empire. After some time I noticed that Vigla Recruits, Imperial Equites, and anything above are rarely ever to be found. I though it might have something to do with my mods, so I turned them of and started some testing in another new playthrough. It turns out it's not the fault of my mods and other factions have the problem too. I searched most (but not all) of the villiages on the map and the there was only 1 elite troop aviliable I was able to recruit at the start of the game (+2 Recruitment Slots difficulty). Obviously I found one or another elite troop, but they were locked behind the relation requirement. I can say they certainly got more rare compared to the main branch, but because of that it's almost impossible to recruit any elite troops even late game, since you will barely ever get up to relation 20 or above with a villager you want to have high relation with. I hope this was not an intended change, since it's almost locking the elite troops for you.